SwaVay’s Long Awaited New Album Is a Candid Letter to Home
Ahead of his biggest release yet, the Atlanta-based rapper lets VMAN into the world of “Almetha’s Son” and the album’s personal origins
SwaVay was only a kid the first time he turned on the beats of the top Music Choice channels, sat down in his room, and began to study the music. No test in sight, he didn’t know what his research was for—he was only six, after all—but learning about his favorite artists was a pastime he couldn’t get enough of. To an outsider, this practice might seem typical—a kid infatuated with the world of hip-hip and its biggest names in blinding lights. Instead, the passion led him down a path ablaze with notable acclaim, from collaborations with multi-platinum producer Metro Boomin and musician James Blake to a Grammy nomination for his contribution to “Elevate” from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Ready to tell his own story now with the backing of his first major label, the rapper announces his newest album Almetha’s Son, a genre-bending homage to home driven by the fire set within him all those years ago.
With his breakout mixtape Pure Infinity and best-streaming track “2 AM” behind him, there’s no better time for the artist’s unbounded candor as his new release continues to boost his name. “On this album, I let it all out,” the rapper tells VMAN. “On my song “4+5”, I literally tell you my thought process battling between being ‘hard’ and just a regular kid. From me being adopted to how I feel about my parents, my city; I wore everything and embraced it.”
Born from ambition and an expert capacity for storytelling, SwaVay’s newest chapter is more than its addictive trap-fused tracks—it’s a catalyst for even greater things to come. What for, exactly, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Keep reading below for more on our conversation with SwaVay.
VMAN: Congrats on your latest album, Almetha’s Son! Where did you begin with the project? What were some themes you wanted to explore with this album?
SWAVAY: Thank you so much. Means the world to me. I started this album 3 years ago somewhat right after my last project Pure Infinity. Sal and Cash had me over for a meeting and at the time they wanted to do an EP of like 3-4 songs and I was like “Well what the fuck am I going to say?”. Like I had just gotten done putting what felt like my all into a project that took me 2 years to make itself. But as soon as I got into the studio, songs bled out of me. “Go Shorty”, “Money Can’t Ease Your Pain”, and “Runaway” all just came out immediately. And I was like “Oh okay, I know where I wanna go. I know what I wanna say”.
VMAN: I read that the album pays homage to your mother and is a love letter to his Atlanta. Can you elaborate on that?
S: It’s a love letter and a breakup at the same time, I think. I feel like this is something that I owed to my city to make, but that weight is not going to define my music anymore after this.
VMAN: And as you grew up in Atlanta – how did the city shape your sound?
S: Honestly, at first, it didn’t. I come from boom bap. And as you know, boom bap is not what Atlanta is known for. But I had to learn to blend, and I feel like this album is the first time I really got it right.
VMAN: And can you take it back a bit and tell us what’s your earliest memory of music and performing?
S: I can’t recall my first memory of music, but I do remember being in my room in first grade or kindergarten studying Lil Bow Wow albums, as crazy as that sounds. When my dad did come to visit, he would always play g funk and the best NY shit ever. He was big on Snoop, Nas, Jay, and Mobb Deep. I fell in love with it every time I heard something. It was so fresh then. I would sit in front of the Music Choice channels and just listen to music; read the facts about the artist, back when listening to music was an activity.
VMAN: What message do you want to send with this album and with your music in general?
S: That it’s okay to be who the fuck you are, as cliche as it sounds. On this album I let it all out, I put it all on the table. On my song 4+5, I literally tell you my thought process on battling between being “hard” and just a regular kid. From me being adopted, to how I feel about my parents, my city; I wore everything and embraced it. Listen, if my ass can get on VMAN, a kid with no crazy co-sign, no help, no wild funding or some industry plant ass situation, you can too.